Remarketing for Restaurant Chains – Keep Your Brand Name Top-of-Mind

The majority of people who surf the web and land on your website aren’t ready to make a conversion in that exact moment. And just one brief encounter with your brand isn’t enough to make your restaurant chain come to mind the moment these prospects are ready to go out to eat.

That’s why big-name brands spend tens of thousands of dollars on TV ads. They know that in order to build an audience, they have to expose these prospects to their brand over and over again.

But with more and more people turning to the web to consume content and entertain themselves, how can you follow that same TV ad premise across digital channels?

The answer is remarketing.

Remarketing – also called retargeting – is a technique used to strategically place ads across the web to reach prospects who have visited your website but have yet to make a conversion. These ads are known to follow users around the Internet, popping up on pages they browse, serving as a digital reminder that the user has expressed some interest in your brand in the past.

Below we’ll discuss how you can implement this technique for your brand, as well as show you how to alter it slightly to speak to your wider audience of prospects.

Hitting home an offer

For starters, we find it useful for our clients to use social media advertising as the engine to get this machine running.

Let’s say, for example, that your chain is offering a free drink offer to patrons. You decide to promote the offer on social media with an ad that funnels users to a specific landing page on your restaurant’s website.

That landing page has a form or call to action that allows visitors to download their coupon code for a free drink.

By using a remarketing pixel on this page, you’ll be able to determine which visitors converted and which did not.

Those who did convert are likely to come into your restaurant to redeem their coupon; there’s no need to follow up with them in this instance. What you want to do is try to get the attention of the folks who did not convert for some reason.

When creating ads for this segment, our online marketing department recommends perhaps promoting a different offer you have (seeing as your drink promotion didn’t cause your visitors to convert) or adding a sense of urgency to your ad: Get Your Free Drink Before It’s Too Late!

With this standard approach to remarketing, the formula can be reused for each of your offers:

Promote Offer with Ad on Social Media > Send Folks Who Click on Ad to Landing Page on Your Site > Create a Remarketing Pixel that Measures Folks Who Did Not Convert > Target Them With Follow Up Ads


When you just want to be top of mind

When it comes to your restaurant chain, you can take the remarketing approach slightly differently. You don’t always have to measure conversions to make your ad appear across the web to folks who came to your site.

It’s perfectly fine – in your instance – to create a remarketing ad that targets all of your past website visitors, even if you don’t have a specific online conversion (like a downloadable coupon) to measure.

In this case, you’re essentially using remarketing as a digital billboard. Rather than drivers seeing your billboard every day as they go to and from work (or wherever) they’ll see your ad as they go to and from their digital channels.

As a result, you have a lot more leeway in your ad language. We’d still recommend promoting special offers, as they tend to deliver the best possible ROI, but now you have the flexibility to change this offer throughout the year.

There are, of course, two issues with this blanket approach to remarketing:

  1. You aren’t using targeted language because you’re not advertising to a narrowed list of prospects. This can result in lower conversion rates.
  2. You risk annoying your prospects over time or falling victim to ad blindness.

Let’s delve into #2 a little further. When you create remarketing campaigns around conversions, then once that conversion is made (such as a prospect going to your landing page and downloading the coupon) you can trigger the ad to stop showing.

That makes sense – you’ve accomplished your goal.

But when you’re not measuring conversions, you’re not striving for any particular goal. You merely want to keep your brand top-of-mind through repetitive ad exposure.

Over time, this could work against you. Either your visitors will grow annoyed that your ad keeps flooding their web pages, or if you don’t mix up your ads from time to time, your prospects might subconsciously ignore the messaging.

If you take this non-conversion-focused approach to remarketing, our digital marketing agency recommends you create time limits for each ad. Every month or two pause your campaign or drastically change the look and design of the ad to avoid having your campaigns do more harm than good.

Creating ads based on page visits

This last tactic isn’t focused on conversions but isn’t as blanketed as the strategy above. In this approach, you’ll install remarketing pixels on each of your landing pages.

There may be a number of reasons why a prospect comes to your site. They could have seen an ad on social media. They might have come through organic means. But, in the end, what you care about with this strategy is which page the visitor came to.

Let’s say, for example, you have a landing page on your website specific to appetizers and a visitor spends some time on that page. It would make sense, then, to create a remarketing ad that targets this visitor with appetizer-based advertising.

In other words, you’re continuing the conversation with this prospect in an effort to nurture the relationship.

Creating the pixels – and ads – for this strategy is actually the easy part. The challenge is ensuring that your website is structured in a way that allows you to segment your audience based on the pages they visited.

There is no one solution to this challenge. It depends entirely on your niche and offering. But you might consider developing landing pages for each type of food you offer (drinks, desserts, appetizers, sandwiches, soups, salads, etc.), as well as for every single promotion you have (happy hour, 25-cent wings on Mondays, half-off appetizers on Sundays, etc.).

The more segmentation you do with your landing pages, the easier it is for you to create highly specific ads targeted at the mindset of your visitors.

Remarketing is never ending – and you want it to be

The important thing to remember about remarketing is that it’s not a set-it-forget-it kind of marketing strategy for your restaurant. You want to be constantly vigilant about the type of messaging your prospects see, when they see it and, how often they see it.

When used effectively, remarketing can help keep your brand name top-of-mind for your prospects at those moments in the day when they’re hungry and looking for a place eat.

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